clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Lakers vs. Timberwolves Preview: Can L.A. start a win streak?

New, comments

The Lakers responded with a huge winning streak after their opening night loss last year. Doing the same thing this year would have to start on Sunday against the Timberwolves.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers gave their fans a special Christmas gift in their first win of the season on Friday: A historic offensive performance, literally one of the best showcases of scoring prowess in the already illustrious history of this franchise.

Guess who they’re playing next? That’s right, the same Minnesota Timberwolves that last year’s offensively challenged Lakers dropped the most points in the history of the franchise against.

Okay, so maybe they’re not the exact same Timberwolves. They brought back Ricky Rubio to the team during the offseason, one of the better point guard defenders in the NBA, and added Ed Davis, a defensively sound center, but this is otherwise a very similar roster to the one that was the 11th-worst defense in NBA last year, and the Lakers have added, in the words of head coach Frank Vogel, “a lot of offensive firepower.” And now, coming off their first win of the season and appearing to be clicking on all cylinders offensively, they look set to bring all that firepower to bear on the Wolves, especially given that Minnesota will be playing in the second-night of a road back-to-back after facing the Jazz on Saturday evening in Utah.

This is also low-key an important game for the Lakers to win, given how competitive the Western Conference is this season. There are no “must-win” regular season games for the defending champs, but fattening up their record in the brutal Western Conference by beating up on bottom feeders can help give them a cushion in the standings and also allow LeBron James and Anthony Davis to get some rest even on a night they suit up. This is also the start of a back-to-back for the Lakers that will see them face Portland on Monday, so they might as well knock out the easier win on paper.

Additionally, last year’s Lakers went on a seven-game winning streak — and won 17 of their next 18 — to get the bad taste of an opening night loss to the Clippers out of their mouths. If this team is going to serve a similar statement to the league following the same result from game one, they’ll need to keep it rolling when they host the Wolves, especially with a four-game road trip coming up after their next two home contests. We’ll see if they can when the Lakers and Timberwolves will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. PT on Sunday. The game will be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet, and nationally on NBA TV.

Notes and Updates

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.